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Jan Dismas Zelenka: 16

By Orchestre de chambre d'Auvergne

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By Orchestre de chambre d'Auvergne and Pasticcio Barocco. By Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745). Classical. CD. Naxos #LH016. Published by Naxos (NX.LH016).

Item Number: NX.LH016

In the text accompanying the previous volume of this anthology of Zelenka's music by the Pasticcio Barocco Ensemble, Zelenka borrowed Pisendel's metaphor of the almond as a guide to the music of this enigmatic composer. Upon transmitting a score to his friend Telemann, Pisendel expressed the wish that the former would ''taste many, many of the sweet fruits of this almond tree'', thus creating a parallel between Zelenka's music and the symbolism of ''shell'' and ''kernel''; ''secret'' and ''knowledge''. We know so little of Zelenka's life that there is little one can add to the first text. Zelenka did not seem to want to be remembered other than by is music. The particularity of hemeticism is to keep a secret, not to reveal it. It is probably that in using this analogy, Pisendel was hinting at alchemy. Many composers of the time practised the secrets of their art in the hermetic mode. It should be remembered that the only work printed in Zelenka's lifetime was, in fact, an enigmatic canon. It is clear that historically, for a long time, reception of Zelenka's work highlighted the idea of strangeness. How would he have responded to this? C.P.E. Bach for example, categorically refuted this label that had often been attached to him too. What is certain is that Zelenka was a demanding composer. At a time when the search for simplicity had arrived from Italy and taken hold in the Dresden community in which he lived, he made constant use of counterpoint.

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